DALLAS - The Chicago Bulls are making changes at the top, having reportedly launched a search to replace long-time executive vice president John Paxton and general manager Gar Forman.
And the Dallas Mavericks may have a top-notch candidate.
"Michael Finley would be amazing in that role,'' Mavs owner Mark Cuban tells DallasBasketball.com. "Fin has had a huge impact on the Mavs. ... Amazing.''
According to NBC Sports Chicago's K.C. Johnson, owner Michael Reinsdorf's original plan was to make changes at the conclusion of the regular season. The COVID-19 crisis has halted NBA play and seemingly altered the Bulls' timetable, with reported intentions to seek permission to interview Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas, Raptors general manager Bobby Webster, Pacers general manager Chad Buchanan and Heat assistant general manager Adam Simon, per NBC Sports.
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The name of Finley, 47 and a Chicago native, isn't on the above list. Cuban and others who have worked closely with Finley, the former Mavs star who since 2012 has served a quiet apprenticeship in the Dallas front office for years and now holds the title of Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Dallas Mavericks., believe it should be.
Finley, the 21st overall pick in the 1995 NBA Draft, played 15 seasons in the NBA. He has career averages of 15.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists. The two-time All-Star is mostly remembered for his time with the Mavs, where he played with Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash as part of the foundation of the franchise's turnaround under Cuban and the Nelsons.
Finley has performed alongside Cuban, GM Donnie Nelson, coach Rick Carlisle and assistant GM Keith Grant in Dallas, learning all aspects of front-office work.
The next Bulls hire will reportedly have autonomy when it comes to basketball operations, including the authority to determine the fate of coach Jim Boylen, whose 2019-20 Bulls are 22-43. Paxson and Forman could possibly stay in Chicago in "advisory roles'' under the new leadership - leadership of the sort that supporters of Michael Finley believe he offers.
"Fin would be so good there,'' Cuban tells us, "that I don't know if I would even give permission for them to talk to him.''